By the early 1950s, the opportunity for a chapter of the National Association of Accountants (as we were known then) in the East Bay became clear, and the Oakland-East Bay Chapter was chartered in 1952, joining the existing San Francisco Chapter to serve Bay Area accounting and finance professionals. Our first Chapter President was Leonard A. Doyle, CPA. A review of our chapter roster library shows his name reappearing in the late 1960s as a Professor at UC Berkeley - obviously a significant contributor to our profession.
From the very beginning, the Chapter's members have worked together to provide educational and networking opportunities for our fellow professionals, as well as giving support to accounting students and various community services.
The OEB Chapter won its first banner in the National Chapter competition in the 1958/59 chapter year, under the leadership of Chapter President Hugh Eyerly. The earliest Roster and Program Guide in our chapter library, for the 1960/61 chapter year, listed Mr. Eyerly as the Controller for Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley.
(Speaking of the 1960/61 Roster, it contained advertisements for, among others, a mechanical calculator that must have weighed 50 pounds, with the tag line "that makes figure-work output soar", as well as a personnel agency for "MEN and WOMEN". Progress was rampant!)
The OEB Chapter has since garnered nine more National banners and a wide variety of other National awards for excellence in membership and communications.
In the early days, the accounting and finance world was male-dominated, and that was reflected in the chapter membership and leadership. In the 1960s era Rosters, one could still see the notation "Wives Invited" under a listing for a Non-Technical meeting, as well as a meeting topic of "The Businessman's Health - Coronary Artery Disease, Our Contemporary Plague". But thankfully that has changed, and the OEB elected its first woman President (not to mention one of its most dynamic), Pat Newton, in the banner-winning 1983/84 chapter year.
In the early 1990s, we had become the Institute of Management Accountants, to better reflect the roles most of our members played in their organizations. By then the East Bay area was also served by IMA chapters in Walnut Creek (Diablo Valley Chapter) and Pleasanton (Amador Valley Chapter), not to mention chapters in San Jose, the Peninsula, and Santa Rosa. Change in the world and in our profession greatly accelerated, and continues unabated to the present day. The OEB Chapter's activities have also been evolving, to reflect the changes in our daily life and to keep pace with technological advances.
But even as the Oakland-East Bay Chapter recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, it is still as important as it was in 1952 for accounting and finance professionals to actively manage their careers. In fact, it is more critical than ever to be prepared for that next career opportunity... and certification, continuing education, leadership development and nurturing a professional network will always be the cornerstones of that preparation.